Back to blogging basics

Posted on February 29, 2016 by Admin under Photography
Eddie Dodd Photography Blog Cover

A few samples of what I’ve been up to

I started blogging last year with the best of intentions.  The thing is, I was enjoying it. But then I went on holiday and pressures of the day job got in the way when I got back. I just never continued.

Now it’s time to get back into the swing of things and show you what I’ve been doing because I have been busy and I’m shooting whenever I can for pleasure or at the clients request  (I love that bit too ?).  I’m on a mission to get back into my landscapes and there will be a new section on the Adventures of Sad Teddy.

So please forgive my tardiness, I won’t do it again and you will be seeing a lot more of these.


Wedding Shoot Editing and the Rainbow Trust

Posted on September 17, 2015 by Admin under Uncategorized
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Great North Run Mo FarahI’ve been quiet on the blog front the last week as I’ve been working hard on getting the first wedding shoot editing under my belt.  The good news is I’m nearly there and the first pass of wedding 2 has been completed.  Add to that I was asked a few months back if I could shoot the Great North Run for Rainbow Trust Children’s Charity.  I knew I was free so I was very happy (and flattered) to help.

So Sunday 13 September comes around, batteries charged (again) and my long-suffering  lovely wife drives me into town.  I hoped to meet some of the cheering squad at the 4 mile mark but alas it was not to be.  On a selfish note I wanted to see if I could get a shot of Mo Farah.  Mo and the other elite runners  were amazing to see – and I’m happy to say the shot was in the bag.  Then what seemed like an age later the regular members of the human race started to trickle through… then it was a torrent.  ThousandGreat North Runs upon thousands of runners.  It truly was a sight to behold and was very inspirational.  Remembering the reason I was there I got to work shooting the runners and looking for people in Rainbow Trust shirts – given the number of people going past no mean feat.  You see people in all sorts of fancy dress but the most bizarre was the 9 foot Pepperami –

Eventually the numbers started to dwindle and it w
as off to South Shields to meet the Rainbow Trust’s runners.  At 4 miles everyone looked happy and relatively fresh.  At the finish they just looked happy to still be breathing, albeit heavily.  This time it was getting the shots where they knew I was taking a photo and others with a few street photography skills thrown in so people were not aware – gotta love candid image.  Once home it was a case of turning the images round as fast as possible so Rainbow Trust could get them out.

But now I’Great North Runm back to Wedding Shoot Editing like crazy – well I’m writing this blog at the moment but you know what I mean.  And I’m loving every minute of it.


The County Hotel Wedding

Posted on September 8, 2015 by Admin under Newcastle Wedding Photography, Northumberland Wedding Photography, Photography, Uncategorized, Wedding Photography
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Eddie Dodd Photography County Hotel WeddingEddie Dodd Photography County Hotel Wedding

So for the last of the three weddings in 12 days we have the County Hotel Wedding in Newcastle upon Tyne city centre.

This was my first city centre wedding and it brought with it a different set of challenges.  With an 8am start it was to be the longest of the days but no less enjoyable.  Having not had the change to visit the venue before Kelly and David’s big day, arriving early was the only way I could get to see what locations there were around the hotel which I could reasonably use.  We’re in a great city centre with some amazing architecture around so lets use it.

Next stop – Starbucks whilst I run over the notes for a day but that’s not relevant to the story 🙂

Time to meet the Kelly and get the grand tour – even if she was wearing white fluffy slippers.  The big plus point with the County Hotel is there is plenty of light entering the rooms and everything was already set up.  I can work with this. Then it’s time to get to work – getting ready shots, details shots, room setup, table features.  I love taking these images, it’s the calm before the storm and gets the creative juices flowing.  Can I just say the theme for the Breakfast and the reception here was Las Vegas so there were playing cards, mini dice with all the table named as casinos.  It made getting the shots so easy.  The only problem is I can get carried away when I’m doing this so I have to keep an eye the time in order to meet up with the registrar and the groom, David.  He has three Best Men so we gather them up and get the shots in the bag.

The ceremony begins and I’m looking for the moments…the tears, the smiles and that all important first kiss.  Everyone heads through to where drinks are being served and I have the inevitable task to herding cats again 🙂  The group shot I decide to try on the main staircase.  Wide angle lens at the ready (thanks go to Nigel Runnett for the loan) I take the shots – more on this later…

Eddie Dodd Photography County Hotel WeddingI set up my flashes for the other formal shots in one of the rooms and plough on with as may as we can before the speeches and the Wedding Breakfast.

So whilst everyone enjoys their meal I’m backing up and checking out my shots. only to discover that I need to take the group shot again.  It’s not technically good enough so I, rather embarrassingly have a word with Kelly and David and they’re very understanding. After they finish the meal I get everyone back for a group shot in a different location and nail the shot this time and finish off the rest of the formals safe in the knowledge disaster had been averted.  Finally for the afternoon I take Kelly and David outside to get personal shots and we have some fun.

Another rest (and backup yet again) and I get ready to shoot the start of the reception which includes the cake cutting and the first dance.  Where possible I’m not using flash so people are not aware that their photo has been taken – it makes for a more natural shot.  At this point I have to mention the singer, Jason King.  Remember the theme is Vegas so what better songs than all the swing music from the Brat Pack.  This guy was brilliant.  It took all my effort to not to dance. Never a good sight at the best of times, let alone with 2 cameras hanging off me.

The first dance is announced and there are no LED lights anywhere to be seen so there will be no multicoloured spots to deal with in post production.  I shoot for another 10-15 minutes and then that is me done…except the bride and groom ask for just one more formal shot for which I  was happily to oblige.

Having completed the County Hotel Wedding you’d think that would it but now there’s all the editing. It’s already well under way but with3 weddings so close together means I am about to undertake the largest editing project ever…now there’s an idea for a blog 🙂


Horton Grange Wedding

Posted on September 1, 2015 by Admin under Northumberland Wedding Photography, Photography, Uncategorized, Wedding Photography
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Kerry and Michael Horton Grange WeddingKerry and Michael Dove Release Horton Grange Wedding

Sunday was the Horton Grange Wedding with Kerry and Michael.  This Grade II listed building may be small but the wedding had a lot going on so there was a lot running around to do.  My day started at 10am at Kerry’s parents house for the getting ready shots.  It’s not all about the hair and make up at this stage, there’s the shoes, the jewellery, the flowers, oh, and there is something about a wedding dress?  🙂  I love working on these shots, you get to know some of the key people of the day, and learn about their character.  This way when you take images later on you know what works, what looks more natural.  The one thing I want before I leave for the venue though, is the bride in her dress, they always have the biggest grin on their face.

Now all I need is a helicopter to get me from the parent’s home to Horton Grange.  I don’t have one so my car has to do.  I get there with enough time to meet the manager, Chris, so I can confirm with him the timings for the day.  He was extremely helpful and accommodating but I have to say that all the stand were.  It always makes my day easier.  So it’s time to get all the incidental shots: flowers, table decorations, chair decorations etc.   The weather is good so the wedding is being held outside – no low light issues for me today  With the Registrar talked to, it’s the ladies from White Heart Doves who I need to speak to next.  This is the first time I’ve shot a dove release so needed their help in understanding what happens.

The Bride arrives in a beautiful Ferrari (is there such a thing as an ugly Ferrari?) and the ceremony is underway.  Everything went off without a hitch.  And I have to say because of the chat with White Heart Doves I nailed the shots so cannot thank them enough.

Supercar Weddings

A light hearted moment as I demonstrate a pose

I had a large shot list but before we get cracking on the formals it’s time to shoot the happy couple next to the Ferrari.  Thank you to Rachel from Supercar Weddings for letting us play around the car and get some great images.  And some fun images too – if not quite sensible.

The group shot was first (as always for me) so I could introduce myself to everyone and get on with the task at hand.  It was the usual case like trying to herd cats (sorry guests, but you are difficult to bring together for these shots 🙂 ) but we managed it with only overrunning by 10 minutes – thanks again to Chris for giving me that extra time.

Kerry and Michael had a guest drop out at the last moment so they insisted that I put the camera down and sit down for dinner.  It was very nice of them and I cannot thank them enough.

After dinner I backup my images (and backup the backup – you know the drill)

Speeches are done next and it’s time to get creative and capture the images of the happy couple on their own…well them, me, 2 cameras and a light stand for the off camera flash.  The sun is starting to go down so we have beautiful light to work against and some amazing locations around the venue.  I think we nailed it!

At last it was time to capture the first dance and then it’s time to pack up, go home and start the editing process.

Thank you Kerry and Michael for letting me capture your Horton Grange Wedding day.


Langley Castle Wedding

Posted on August 26, 2015 by Admin under Photography, Uncategorized, Wedding Photography
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Langley Castle WeddingThe day is finally here.  I get to shoot my first ever Langley Castle Wedding.

My day begins with a weather check and (yet another) kit check.  Then I forget everything to do with wedding photography and cameras.  This happens every time.  It’s nothing unusual but it still freaks me out. Imaging picking up the tool of your trade and not have a clue how to operate it.  Fortunately that lasts no more than 2 minutes.

First thing is to get there on time, but something I heard once really sticks with me, “If you’re on time you’re late.” so I make sure I get there early and go and meet Elaine the wedding planner so she knows I’m on site and to confirm the timings for the day (let me just say that Elaine was a real help throughout the day and I cannot thank her enough).  Then it’s off to see the Groom, John.  He looks nervous, just like every groom does. A few encouraging words and I try and take his mind off the inevitable by grabbing the the shots with him and his best man.

Then it’s details, details, details.  Table settings, flowers, labels, anything I can see.  And I might as well get the beauty shot of the venue.  A quick chat with the registrar to see where I can take my images, use of flash etc.  The registrars are always helpful and I’m very respectful of their wishes.

It’s time to meet the bride, Julie and get a few shots prior to her walking down the aisle.  Yet another beautiful bride.

The ceremony goes off without a hitch and I’m gifted with some lovely images.

Next I have to be at the top of my game with the formal shots… I start off with the group shot.  Everyone is together as they are ushered outside so it’s a no brainer on my part and it’s a chance to introduce myself to the guests – even if it is from the first floor window.

Langley CastleThe rest of the group shots come down being quick and efficient – it is also a bonus to have a guest (usually the Best Man) who can get the guests ready so give them a copy of the shot list.  The quicker we can get the shots done – not rushing mind – then everyone keeps that post wedding buzz smile. It also means that I have more time with the bride and groom to capture the intimate shots.  It’s their first chance to relax and it really shows in the wedding photography.  And Langley Castle is just a great place to wander around.

While they’re having a buffet it’s my first chance to backup my images.  And then I backup the backup (and when I get home, I’ll backup again – paranoid much?)

Then it’s time to blend into the background and go candid.  People in conversation with friends makes for great images when they don’t know that I’m taking the shots. It’s great just catching people’s natural expressions.

A few hours later it’s time for the meal so I get ready to capture shots of the bride and groom walking in.  Whilst they are eating I get to backup again (and backup the backup again 🙂 ) and I start working through the images in order to get a head start on the post processing.  My last task  this day is photographing the speeches.

As I was about the to leave John, the Groom, asks everyone to give me a round of applause for the job I’d done that day as he shook my hand.  I’m never happier than when I am using my camera and I invest a lot in keeping my skills current and people saying kind things like that are priceless.  But as I say to every bride a groom, thank you for letting me capture your day.

I cannot wait to shoot my next Langley Castle Wedding but for now my next stop is Horton Grange on Sunday.  I’m already buzzing.


Putting them at their ease

Posted on August 22, 2015 by Admin under Photography, Uncategorized, Wedding Photography
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One of Langley's PeacocksSpeaking to clients days and weeks before a wedding is important.  That might sound obvious but it is somewhat essential for 2 reasons.

  1. With everything they have going on it’s time to give them the news that you’re still there.
  2. It’s time to ask questions.  You to them and them to you.

I cheat slightly on number 2 because before we speak I have sent them a document with a load of questions and pointers. They can read it at their leisure and  often they send me the answers in the email. Things like what are the confirmed timings of the day – getting ready, the ceremony, the meal, the speeches, the cake cutting, the first dance.

I also give them a sample shot list.  Although formal shots are something people say they don’t want formal group shots it’s still an important record of a wedding as the people you want in a shot together would not necessarily happen naturally so we still use group shots.  My mantra here is to keep the group shoots short. The faster we can get the group shots done the less hanging around people have to do. The less waiting around they do the bigger their smiles. The bigger the smiles the better the pictures. The is a method in my madness after all. The other reason is the faster we do it the less chance people have to wander off to the far end of the venue.  Most wedding venues are great to explore and everyone searches for the bar.

So when it comes round to speaking to the bride and groom in the days before the wedding they are primed with the answers and they have questions of their own or (most importantly) some extra shots they may want – my example is of the great aunt who has made an extra special journey to be there and you want to get a shot with her.

With my first of three weddings on Monday at Langley Castle I’ve had that chat with Julie and John and they know I am still turning up – always useful for wedding photography I find – and everything is confirmed. All there is to do now is charge the cameras’ batteries and ensure I have all memory cards ready.  Something I will check at least 5 times between now and Sunday evening.

Wish me luck


It’s all there in Black and White

Posted on August 17, 2015 by Admin under Uncategorized, Wedding Photography
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Eddie Dodd Photography Black and White Wedding PhotographySo I’m going a bit off theme on this one – I’ll be back to my 3 weddings in 12 days soon enough.  Wedding Photography used to be all black and white images back in the day.  I’m sure we’ve all see images of, say, our grandparents wedding and they were these amazing, magical even, black and white images. That was all they had to work with until colour became affordable.  Now we are in digital the choice is in the hands of the photographer as to whether process and image in colour or not.

Some images just work in black and white.  Sometimes colour distracts from what we are trying to display so processing in black and white makes a real difference.  Changing it to black & white changes the whole dynamic of an image, focusing on the texture or an expression – or it might just not work.  There are some wedding photographers who work predominantly in black & white  and they produce some of the most amazing work – truth be told I am in awe of the work these people produce and the trust the bride and groom must place in them.

I work in colour for the most part when shooting a wedding but am always on the look out for images that I know will work in black & white.  It’s candid shots that work the most.  A laugh, a hug or just “that” moment that you just know cries out for a black & white conversion.   When delivering the final package and interspersed with colour images they stand out all the more and I believe, finish things off perfectly.  As a wedding photographer with my own style I occasionally do a colour as well as a black and white version so the bride and groom make their own choice.

But where I make black and white my predominant image theme is if I’m shooting the bride getting ready.  It’s about the way I want to tell the story through my Wedding Photography and build to the big reveal – when the bride is ready to walk down the aisle.


Horton Grange’s Turn for the Pre Wedding Shoot

Posted on August 8, 2015 by Admin under Photography, Wedding Photography
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Horton Grange

The Gazebo in the main garden at Horton Grange

So what can I tell you about Horton Grange?  Well, it is a Grade II Listed Country House Hotel near Ponteland in Northumberland. And in my opinion, it’s gorgeous.  It’s an intimate venue with bucket loads of charm and character.  A real blessing for us photographers, it has very helpful and friendly staff. It’s a photographers playground and I love it already!  When I was taking my test shots I was playing with off camera flash already- something I don’t usually feel a need to do on a recon visit. Kerry and Michael, the bride and groom chose well.

Now I have been for the pre wedding photography shoot I am happy I have a feel for the place.  A light meter usually comes in handy when making notes but on this occasion I didn’t replace the battery before I picked it up in the morning – I’m sorry, it won’t happen again and certainly does not happen on the day.  Checking my cameras, lenses, batteries and everything else in the kit bag the day before is a pre-shoot exercise in paranoia and proof, if needed, that I think I have a mild case of OCD.

Anyway, I have all the venue’s shot positions documented – e.g the main group shot position and where I will take it from – a first floor guest room window if you’re interested – and all the alternate locations if the weather is not playing nice.  I’ve even asked there are ladders for the group shot if it is indoors.  I so hope the weather is good because there are countless places to take the bride and groom to for the one to one image after.

Horton Grange

The main entrance which has me inspired with ideas

Horton Grange will be small enough that I will be able to run around for the candid wedding photography as the guests mingle.  Next time I will talk more about the candid and photojournalistic side of wedding photography – it’s not all black and white images but sometimes you just cannot help yourself.

The Langley Castle Visit

Posted on August 1, 2015 by Admin under Photography, Wedding Photography
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Langley Castle - Front Entrance

An inspiration for any wedding photographer

Langley Castle from the gates

There’s a transit van in this shot

One of Langley's Peacocks

One of Langley Castle’s Peacocks

In preparation for the first of three wedding photo shoots in 12 days I visited my first venue, Langley Castle.  A fortified castle built in 1350, it is an imposing and beautiful building.  Full of period features it’s just a wonderful place to visit in it’s own right.  The exterior walls are 7 feet thick – proof that this place was built to be a working castle.  But today it is just a great place for a wedding – I should know, it’s where I tied the knot with my better half all those years ago (10 years ago – not in1350.  Just to avoid any confusion. So much for keeping my crappy humour out of the blog). It’s certainly a great place for wedding photography.

So the purpose of today was to do a recce and (where necessary) introduce myself to one of the wedding planners – in this case Carla. Venues like Langley Castle are a dream for wedding photographers as it has an abundance of places to take lovely images.  It’s all the little nooks and crannies you can use to make the images all the more interesting. The problem is I could easily get carried away and if the bride and groom are too polite they’ll miss their own meal and speeches. The key thing I have learned is that I have sufficient time to get the formal shots out of the way and can probably get a good few images of the couple on their own. We can continue later if needed.

When I was press ganged into my first wedding I stressed about everything.  I did so much reading, found some amazing blogs (such as Rock n Roll Bride. It’s for alternative weddings but it is a great source of inspiration for brides and wedding photographers alike).

No matter what I read, the lessons learned after the wedding were a revelation.

  1. Know how to use your camera inside out That might sound daft but you don’t want to be spending time trying to figure out how to change a setting that you should be able to change in your sleep
  2. People are easy to photograph when you are happy. No one will smile for a miserable photographer
  3. Knowing your venue and spending 5 minutes getting to know the people at the venue is vital and will make your job easier
  4. You cannot control the weather.

1 to 3 were in my hands. It’s number 4 that was the real killer.  Don’t stress about the things you cannot control.  Work around them. So one of the first questions is where can we shoot if it’s raining outside? Take some test shots in the alternate location, make a note of the settings.  Ask if I can use flashguns – never assume.  All of these were asked today.

With those out of the way I’ll be able to have fun shooting the wedding! I’m certainly looking forward to working at Langey Castle.

That went a bit off track but I said it’d be a walk through my wedding photography process.

If you’ve got this far thanks for reading.  Don’t be afraid to follow my blog or share out on Facebook and Twitter.

Eddie ?

Hello world! My take on Wedding Photography

Posted on July 27, 2015 by Admin under Photography
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Wedding flowers Eddie Dodd Photography

This way for the wedding

This is my first official photography blog.  I’ve tried elsewhere but it’s time to bite the bullet and start blogging properly.  So what am I waiting for?

Hello world, I’m Eddie, and I’ll be your guide through these ramblings. Where to begin?  Well, I’ll start with my plans for the coming 5 weeks.  I have to photograph three weddings in 12 days for the first time and it’s quite a milestone for me so why not share?

I hope you will join me on this journey and see what I put into a wedding shoot to make images that the bride and groom will cherish.  I’ll try not to ramble too much or inflict my humour on you. I will keep it on topic but I’m making no promises. 🙂

Wedding photography is all about the prep work.  I don’t want to say the photography on the day is the easy bit because it’s a hard days work – the day after a wedding I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck then reversed over for good measure.  I also find it great fun as well as an honour to record a couples special day.  I’m doing what I love and I’m photographing people in some of the most amazing venues for weddings all over Northumberland – I think we have more castles and stately homes per square foot or some crazy statistic like that.  But it sure makes for great landscape photography too – now that really keeps me sane, even if I have to get up at crazy times of day to do it)

So are you ready to follow me through this journey? What do we have to lose?  I have a few moments where I wonder what the hell I’m doing but then I realise that I relish the challenge.


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All images © Copyright protected Eddie Dodd Photography   +447850382118
Professional, Portrait, Wedding, Landscape Photographer in Northumberland, Durham Tyne & Wear, GB